Archive for the ‘Tests’ Category

Service of Don’t Count on Others to Do Their Jobs Well—or An Apology for Dropped Balls

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Kids going home after school

Several friends shared stories of others dropping significant balls without owning to or acknowledging their mistakes, much less apologizing for them.

This ducking blame trend is longstanding and goes far beyond issues with significant repercussions. Have you noticed that some baristas or deli workers will blame the customer for mistakes? “You did—or did not—ask for milk or mustard or multigrain bread.”

So Taxing

The IRS contacted one friend this summer about a large outstanding balance–that she had already paid–plus interest/a late fee. She called her accountant who said he’d get back to her. He didn’t. She assumed all was well.

Last week she received another letter from the IRS and the original $260 had jumped to $420 reflecting more interest on the late fee—that shouldn’t have been charged to begin with. She called the accountant who claimed that they had discussed this. Nope. The fault, he said, consistently steering the conversation away from his mistake and the issue, was because she wasn’t paying quarterly.


Another friend discovered that a test that the school should have administered to her child last year had not been. The school psychologist did not respond to her query, so she copied the principal in her follow up. The test was to be given every three years. She finally heard back from the psychologist with no apology.

Read the Small Print

A pal takes medication for a chronic condition. She also has high blood pressure. Before checking her record, a social worker suggested she try a new medication. A side effect of the new meds? High blood pressure.

Do you count on others to do what they say they will or what they should?

Service of Would I Want This Person to Be My Doctor?

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

Image by Andew Tan from Pixabay

Are the inmates running the asylum? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

A good grade in organic chemistry is an essential step to acceptance to medical school. The opposite is true: Do badly in the course and you dash your chances.

So what step did N.Y.U. take? It fired a well regarded professor, Maitland Jones, Jr., who previously taught at Princeton, because 80 of his 350 students claimed in a petition that his course was too hard. “The professor defended his standards. But just before the start of the fall semester, university deans terminated Dr. Jones’s contract,” reported Stephanie Saul in The New York Times.

She wrote: “Students said the high-stakes course — notorious for ending many a dream of medical school — was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.”

And: “Dr. Jones, 84, is known for changing the way the subject is taught. In addition to writing the 1,300-page textbook ‘Organic Chemistry,’ now in its fifth edition, he pioneered a new method of instruction that relied less on rote memorization and more on problem solving.”

I welcome problem solvers in my future doctors or crucial employees at a company I rely on or invest in.

In response to his firing, Dr. Jones wrote that he’d made his exams easier but that students were “misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate” and that the pandemic exacerbated the loss of focus he’d observed starting 10 years ago. Some students “didn’t seem to know how to study.” Scores were as low as zero. Dr. Jones paid $5,000+ to tape 50+ lectures during the pandemic, with two other professors, “to ease pandemic stress.”

“’They weren’t coming to class, that’s for sure, because I can count the house,’ Dr. Jones said in an interview. ‘They weren’t watching the videos, and they weren’t able to answer the questions.’”

Tucked in the article: “Students could choose between two sections, one focused on problem solving, the other on traditional lectures.” A former student who transferred to Brown as a junior and appreciated the course said it was known as “a weed-out class.”

Saul posited: “The entire controversy seems to illustrate a sea change in teaching, from an era when professors set the bar and expected the class to meet it, to the current more supportive, student-centered approach.”

A former department chair wrote about Dr. Jones. “He hasn’t changed his style or methods in a good many years,” Dr. Canary said. “The students have changed, though, and they were asking for and expecting more support from the faculty when they’re struggling.”

Some 20 professors protested the firing in a letter to the science dean and others “worried about setting ‘a precedent, completely lacking in due process, that could undermine faculty freedoms and correspondingly enfeeble proven pedagogic practices.’”

“I don’t want my job back,” Dr. Jones told Saul. He was planning to retire soon, he said. “’I just want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Do you think students should determine who teaches them? Should professors lower their standards in light of the high cost of private college education–do they owe good grades to the students? Is it the professor’s or student’s responsibility for undergraduates to grasp the material in a class? Are you concerned about the proficiency of doctors and others who have skidded through their education because they are experts not in their professions but in drafting impactful protests, excuses and complaints?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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